The Official Dubline Trails
Location: Dublin City Centre
Client: Fáilte Ireland
Sector: Culture, tourism, audio guides, interpretation
Expertise: Research, scripting, site visits, professional production, app development, audio guide production, interpretation consultancy
Dublin is a city with a richly textured history and innumerable stories - invaders and bloodshed, empire and rebels, scandal, beauty and culture and all within a remarkably small area. Through competitive tender, OLI was invited to create a suite of audio tours which would capture these historic themes and the result is the story-filled Dublin Discovery Trails. Each trail takes about two hours on foot around the city, from Kilmainham Gaol and Trinity College up to Parnell Square, revealing whispers of the past on the journey.
The initial tranche of trails comprises six key themes:
- The Story of Dublin – discover Dublin’s colourful past
- Empire - a fascinating journey through what was once known as ‘the second city of the British Empire’.
- Rebellion – the stories of the 1916 Easter Rising
- Echoes of War – an exploration of Dublin’s military history
- The Dubline – a journey through the heart of the ancient city
- The ‘Real’ Dublin. – the Liberties and the winding streets and alleyways of the city
The success of these free audio trails, with thousands of downloads monthly, led to the development of two further trails for the city’s northside:
- Dublin’s Northside 1 - explore iconic sights and hidden highlights of Dublin’s Northside
- Dublin’s Northside 2 – the legends of sport and literary giants of Dublin's Northside
Each of the Dubline audio trails follows a similar format, using two narrators to tell the stories at each point of interest. This conversational style of delivery, developed by OLI, creates a much richer, personalised and engaging experience for the listener. In effect, the visitor takes part in a lively discussion, rather than being talked at by an ‘expert’. The dual narrator style also affords opportunities to ask questions within the audio and to probe more deeply into subjects, then deliver clear explanations.
In each Dubline Trail, visitors are guided to around 10 to 12 stops. The focus is always to convey intriguing stories about what happened at that place, or who did what to whom, rather than bombarding the visitor with a litany of dates, bland facts and descriptions of what they are already looking at. This ‘story-based’ approach is time consuming as it demands rigorous research and strong story-telling skills, both areas in which OLI excels, but it produces deeply meaningful and memorable experiences. This means, for example, that visitors hear a moving account of an Irish rebel, as he pens his last words to his loved ones, can picture the great Irish Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, delivering his first public speech at City Hall, and are brought face-to-face with an Anglo-Norman knight!
In a further expansion of the brief, OLI was asked to create a suite of interpretive signage to be located at strategic points along the Dubline, each bearing three well-scripted stories related to that point.